Rise of a Campus
Jan Ebbinge

A campus is a living thing. It expands and shrinks. It follows the changing needs of the university. It can be perceived as lively yet it can be boring. In an ideal situation, knowledge garnered from the most exotic branches of research wafts through the air. Some see the campus as the epitome of the grandeur of a university, others see it as an industrial area. Just like any other neighbourhood, it has a distinct style and atmosphere.

Around 1900

Series of maps depicting the university’s growth after 1900.

Stadsarchief Delft / TU Delft Library, Special Collections

Municipal extension plan

Municipal extension plan for the city of Delft from 1921 to which H.P. Berlage contributed. It contains a design for a monumental ‘polytechnic city’ in the Wippolder in response to the chaotic growth of the university.

Stadsarchief Delft

The history of the city of Delft is closely intertwined with the history of the Delft University of Technology. The university was founded in 1842 as a Royal Academy, a small-scale school for engineers. In 1864 it was developed into a Polytechnic School. The school was converted to a Technical College (Technische Hogeschool) in 1905, giving it the same academic status as a university. At that time, all the buildings were located in the city centre.

1929 aerial photograph of Delft
Wind tunnel

After the Second World War large numbers of students signed up for the Technical University. Most of the faculties had trouble providing sufficient room for lectures and practicals. As the technical sciences had changed drastically in the thirties and forties, the teaching of these subjects had to be modernised.


Different stages in the development of the building that housed mechanical, maritime and aerospace engineering (now 3ME). It was designed by the architect A. van der Steur. The circular basin for testing ship models at the end of the central wing was not built. The building is now considered a prime example of post-war architecture due to its sculptural decorations and the combination of concrete and yellow brickwork.

Het Nieuwe Instituut / TU Delft Library, Special Collections
Extension plan

Faculty of Technical Physics

Diagram showing the building plans for the Faculty of Technical Physics, 1952.

Nationaal Archief